The Weekly Scroll for April 18, 2019

The Lede

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Redacted report falls short of saying Trump committed crimes

The Mueller Report landed Thursday and it appears it will turn out better for President Trump than even he anticipated when he heard two years ago about the appointment of Robert Mueller as a special counsel charged with investigating Russian interference into the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

That’s when Trump said: “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m (expletive redacted).”

The report was released only after it had been scrubbed of sensitive material by Attorney General William Barr and shown in its entirety to the president and his legal team. Barr did not give it to Congress until after Barr held a press conference in which he explained his interpretation of the report. Mueller was not a part of the press conference.

The report called Russian interference in the election “sweeping and systematic.” Here’s the full report with Barr’s redactions.

Barr defended the president by saying Trump had no corrupt intent and that he was “frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.”

The report’s principal conclusions:

  • Trump’s campaign team had multiple contacts with Russians and Russian government officials in an attempt to gather dirt on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but that cooperation did not rise to the level of a criminal conspiracy.
  • Trump himself engaged in actions — 10 instances — that led Mueller to investigate whether Trump committed the crime of obstructing justice. Mueller, however, decided not to indict the president “based on the facts and the applicable legal standards,” but that the report did not exonerate the president of obstruction. Trump did not appear before Mueller, but instead answered questions with his attorneys in writing.

The U.S. House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats since January, will continue its investigation into Russian election tampering, and may draw completely different conclusions than Mueller. Further, Trump remains under scrutiny in the Southern District of New York for potential campaign finance violations and in other jurisdictions for other potential crimes. Republicans are threatening to open investigations into the origins of the FBI investigation.

For his part, the president declared the entire affair ended.

Pulitzer Prizes handed out; Parkland students lauded at ceremony

On Tuesday, journalists and news organizations from around the world learned whether they had earned a coveted Pulitzer Prize for their work in the past year. But before the Pulitzer committee announced its honorees, they noted the work done by student journalists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

MSD students, with the help of the Student Press Law Center, attended the announcements at Columbia University in New York.

The Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale won the Pulitzer for Public Service reporting, yet the committee said this about the Parkland students:

“I want to break with tradition and offer my sincere admiration for an entry that did not win, but that should give us all hope for the future of journalism in this great democracy,” Pulitzer awards administrator Dana Canedy said. She said that MSD’s 44 student reporters and editors had to “put aside our grief and recognize our role as both survivors, journalists and loved ones of the deceased.”

In closing, Canedy noted that high school journalists can indeed submit their work to the Pulitzer committee in the future.

Please check out the winners of all the Pulitzer Prizes this year and in the past. This is what journalism is all about and what Quill and Scroll hopes to encourage.

It’s An Honor

Andrea Negri

Texas adviser earns Lester G. Benz Scholarship

Andrea Negri of Alief Hastings High School in Houston, Texas has been named the winner of the 2019 Lester G. Benz Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a high school journalism teacher by Quill and Scroll.

Lester G. Benz

Quill and Scroll will contribute $500 to Negri’s pursuit of a master’s degree in journalism education at Kent State University in Ohio. Negri said that her classes at KSU will help her students become better journalists, and specifically to help them take their publications online.

“As an adviser, I want to make sure I stay on top of trends and new developments in journalism,” Negri said. “That is one reason I enrolled in Kent State’s program. I also love to help other advisers and other schools. Quill and Scroll’s scholarship will help me continue to serve my students and peers.”

Quill and Scroll names 2019-2020 Student Advisory Board

Thirteen Quill and Scroll members from every part of the United States have been named to the Q&S Student Advisory Board for 2019-2020. The 13 students will work on national pro-journalism projects for all Quill and Scroll chapters.

The students are:

  1. Riya Chinni, Carmel HS (Indiana)
  2. Caylee Cicero, Starr’s Mill HS (Georgia)
  3. Max Preuninger, Bryant HS (Arkansas)
  4. Will Munro, Regis Jesuit HS (Colorado)
  5. Lucy Smithwick, East Mecklenburg HS (North Carolina)
  6. Sophie Sallah, Harrisonburg HS (Virginia)
  7. Benji Wilton, Kirkwood HS (Missouri)
  8. Emily Hood, Francis Howell North HS (Missouri)
  9. Mira Bohannan Kumar, Iowa City HS (Iowa)
  10. Colleen Sherry, Langley HS (Virginia)
  11. Meredith Comas, Manhattan HS (Kansas)
  12. Emalee Weeks, Calvary Day School (Georgia)
  13. Vince Orozco, Blue Valley HS (Kansas)

Get your orders in, make your nominations for induction … now !

We ask any schools wishing to send in orders of pins, t-shirts, cords, etc. to do so as soon as possible. In April, our office becomes very busy with a large influx of orders; as a result, we ask for your patience and allow at least three weeks for your order to be processed and completed. We also need a form of payment (check, purchase order, credit card payment) before we ship.
To register your students for membership or order Quill and Scroll items, click to access the 2019 order form.

Q&S wants your induction video!

Would you like to be a part of the official Quill and Scroll video? Send us any video of your induction ceremony by clicking the button below, and we’ll use it as b-roll for our video. The Q&S video is set to debut in the fall. Send us the video file in .mov or m4v format. It doesn’t matter if you’ve used professional cameras or your mobile phone. Send it to [email protected].

Commemorate your induction with an official Quill and Scroll Certificate Plaque

We are pleased to introduce our new official membership certificate plaque program in partnership with Award Emblem — our award partner and manufacturer of the official Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society membership pin for more than 50 years. For the first time, you can now purchase exceptional quality plaques that honor your induction and membership into Quill and Scroll. Each plaque is custom imprinted with your personalized membership certificate. These beautiful plaques will remind you and others of your hard-earned achievement for years to come.

Student scholarship deadline is May 10

Students who are national winners of the Yearbook Excellence Contest or the International Writing, Photography and Multimedia Contest and Blogging Competition are eligible to apply for one of the Edward J. Nell Memorial scholarships in journalism, or one of two George and Ophelia Gallup awards.
The Richard P. Johns Scholarship is open to all Quill and Scroll seniors, including those who did not enter contests. Postmark deadline for all applications is May 10. All scholarships can be used for tuition, room and board at any college or university. Recipients must major in journalism or a related area of communications. The scholarships are awarded for the freshman year only and are paid in two installments (fall semester and spring semester).

Classical Academy in California wins Student Journalist Impact Award

Quill and Scroll and the Journalism Education Association have named The Chronicle staff at Classical Academy High School in Escondido, California, as winner of the 2019 Student Journalist Impact Award.

After the death of one of their classmates, the staff of The Chronicle knew it needed to do something to help the school and community learn more about mental health and the impact on their generation.

What followed was an in-depth look driven by information collected in 370 student survey responses, which accounts for almost half of their student body. “Invisible Wounds,” a full-page spread, presented information that the school and community not only listened to, but used as a driving force to take action and make change.

What’s Viral?

U.S. drops in world press freedom rankings

Reporters Without Borders dropped its world press freedom rankings report Friday, and the United States dropped from 41st to 48th among the 180 countries ranked. The U.S. now ranks below Chile, Botswana and Romania.

“Amid one of the American journalism community’s darkest moments, President Trump continued to spout his notorious anti-press rhetoric, disparaging and attacking the media at a national level,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Simultaneously, journalists across the country reported terrifying harassment and death threats, online and in person.”

The five countries that provide the most freedom for journalists:

  1. Norway
  2. Finland
  3. Sweden
  4. Netherlands
  5. Denmark

The five least free (1 being the worst for journalists):

  1. Turkmenistan
  2. North Korea
  3. Eritrea
  4. China
  5. Vietnam

Denver-area schools shut down for a day

Dozens of school districts along Colorado’s Front Range were shut down Wednesday because of a threat by a woman who was obsessed by the 1999 mass murder at Columbine High School in suburban Jefferson County. The woman flew from Florida to Colorado and immediately purchased a gun and ammunition. Instead of attacking a school, however, she killed herself at the base of Mount Evans.

Just a Thought

Is the teaching profession worth the work, low pay?

That’s a question teachers, students, their families and politicians are asking after a year of teacher strikes and other actions in states from West Virginia to Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma.

The Washington Post drew attention this week to South Carolina and highlighted a resignation letter from one teacher who just couldn’t deal with the low pay, unreasonable demands and long hours.

Paris church fire draws attention to church fires in Louisiana

While much of the world focused this week on a fire at Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral — more than $1 billion was raised in 48 hours to help rebuild what was damaged at the 800-year-old French church — others were drawn to fires deliberately set at three historically black churches in Louisiana.

As of Thursday morning, $1.96 million dollars had been raised via a GoFundMe campaign.

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